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Women have made great strides in the workplace in recent decades, especially when it comes to leadership positions.

In this special issue on gender and leadership, we will explore some of the relevant research undertaken here at the Kellogg School. Paola Sapienza digs into the question of women and leadership, asking if men’s propensity to brag has any influence on their tendency to be elevated to higher positions.

David Matsa approaches the female leadership question from another angle, discovering that when women reach the executive suite they lend other women a helping hand. And once women are in those positions of power, Matsa considers whether there is a female style of leadership.

Galen Bodenhausen approaches the issue of gender from a more cognitive perspective by investigating whether we assign gender to simple numbers. Alice Eagly sat down with us to round up some of the latest trends in gender research…

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Intuition And Leadership

Intuition is one of the subtler keys to effective leadership.  But many people confuse intuition with instinct or their ability to read another person’s body language.  But intuition is neither of these.

Instinct

Instinct is something we share with animals.  It doesn’t need learning, it’s a pre-programmed danger or survival reaction to outside stimuli telling us something is wrong – often through body sensations (as in “gut instinct”) that prompt us to act.

So it shares the suddenness of an intuitive thought, but it doesn’t have the creative, breakthrough or forward-looking quality of intuition.

Ability to Read Body language

Our ability to read the facial and body gestures of others and interpret their voice tones is neither instinct nor intuition; it is a social skill.

Intuition

So what is intuition?

It’s the ability to connect to truth, grasp a new insight or envisage a new future without conscious step-by-step intellectual reasoning.

Putting it another way, it’s the capacity to see what was always possible, but hidden by old prejudices and fixed mindsets.  It’s almost as if we mentally seize something whole that was always there, but just out of reach until the moment we engaged our intuition.

Two Examples

Take the example of Albert Einstein.  He didn’t invent relativity, he discovered it.  In other words, he tapped into a truth that was already there.

How did he do it?  In the same way many scientists, visionaries and innovators do.  He educated himself on what we already knew about the subject and concentrated – you could say meditated – on it repeatedly until an idea or solution emerged.

So intuition is a process where a person connects through steady attention to what we might call the invisible storehouse of abstract universal knowledge and creative potential, just as Einstein did when he worked on the theory of special relativity.  And just as many visionaries and innovators have done before and since; like perhaps Tim Berners-Lee, who dreamt of a “universal, shared information space” and proposed the idea of the World Wide Web.

Intuition & Leadership

Thus, intuition is the source of creative insight, of the ability to tap into basic truths and cut through confusing problems to see the issues that matter and envisage a new way forward.

In leaders, it often expresses itself as foresight, vision and the ability to choose wisely between alternative directions.  This is why it’s such a key to effective leadership.

 

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Gender And Leadership

Women have made great strides in the workplace in recent decades, especially when it comes to leadership positions.

In this special issue on gender and leadership, we will explore some of the relevant research undertaken here at the Kellogg School. Paola Sapienza digs into the question of women and leadership, asking if men’s propensity to brag has any influence on their tendency to be elevated to higher positions.

David Matsa approaches the female leadership question from another angle, discovering that when women reach the executive suite they lend other women a helping hand. And once women are in those positions of power, Matsa considers whether there is a female style of leadership.

Galen Bodenhausen approaches the issue of gender from a more cognitive perspective by investigating whether we assign gender to simple numbers. Alice Eagly sat down with us to round up some of the latest trends in gender research and to fill us in on what organizations and managers can do to treat their employees more equitably.

And lest we forget that opportunities for leadership often begin with a good education, Nicole Stephens tinkers with the college welcome letter to see if subtle changes can increase first-generation college students’ chances of success. It is a timely reminder that just getting into college is only half the battle.

We hope you enjoy our special issue!

 

 

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